Tesla Model 3 all-wheel drive Performance rolls off a new assembly line in a temporary structureEnlarge Photo
Tesla's chief engineer for vehicle production won't return from a leave of absence, the company announced on Monday.
Doug Field started his leave of absence in early May, right after the company's last sales report to that time, when it announced that it had only produced a little over 2,000 cars a week in April.
Musk had been promising investors for six months that the company would begin building 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of March. Following that "production and deliveries" report, CEO Elon Musk took over production engineering from Field.
A little over a month later, Tesla announced that Field would take a leave of absence. At the time a company spokesman said, "Doug is just taking some time off to recharge and spend time with his family. He has not left Tesla."
Field was one of a few top executives with experience in both the software and automotive industries, having worked for Ford and Apple. When Musk announced that he would take over production engineering from Field, the CEO tweeted his praise for Field, saying Field is "one of the world's most talented engineering execs."
Field was responsible for much of the production engineering of the Model 3 and took over engineering of the Model 3 production line last year.
According to a post in The Information at the time, insiders painted a different story. Sources briefed on Field's departure told The Information, "Mr. Musk had given Mr. Field several chances to raise output, but the company has repeatedly missed its Model 3 production targets over the past year, including after Mr. Field took over manufacturing."
Sources expected Field to return about six weeks later, but on Monday the company said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, "After almost five years at Tesla, Doug Field is moving on. We'd like to thank Doug for his hard work over the years and for everything he has done for Tesla."
Field is the latest among about 50 executives who have left the company over the past two years, following Tesla's acquisition of Solar City and a recent flattening of executive ranks that Musk announced as part of a 9-percent layoff at the company last month.